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A Frenchman sworn in at Holyrood
Twenty years ago, Christian Allard came to Aberdeen without speaking a word of English, now, with two children and three grand children, all of them Scottish, he has become the first Frenchman to be elected to the Scottish Parliament.
Christian Allard was born in the Dijon region, near the Cité des Ducs and used to work in the French fishing industry. When his boss offered him to be sent out to work in Aberdeen for a while, he was enthusiastic but anxious about it because of his poor level of English. Once he got there, he realised the important thing was not to be fluent but to find the right conversation theme: "(...) where I was, you had to speak about football to get in contact with people". More than twenty years later, his integration has been a huge success. He is married to a Scot, has two children and three grand-children, all of them Scottish.
One thing leading to another, he got interested in politics, trying to understand why some Scots want their independence and concluded: "(...) Scotland is rich, has many natural resources, and yet, it is still a poor country with rising inequalities. And that is because of the London government which does not take care of us". This vision explains his subscription to the NSP (National Scottish Party), and his campaigning in favour of independence.
Today, this issue is his main goal. He is preparing the referendum on Scottish independence which will take place in September 2014. Nevertheless, he is surprised by his new political role as it was unexpected. He was not meant to be the candidate, but the first choice candidate unfortunately died while the first reserve decided to present himself in another constituency. This explains the arrival of a Frenchman in the Scottish Parliament.
Strangely enough, Scotland accepts foreigners in its Parliament so long as they live and work on Scottish soil. In this context, Christian Allard will be allowed to vote on education, health, environment and justice issues, foreign affairs, energy and defence being under British control. Whilst he is waiting for Scotland's independence, he started campaigning in his traditional kilt.